Despite the subjective experience of many bilingual individuals that first-language content is more emotional than second-language content, the literature on the processing of first- and second language emotional material has indicated that emotional content is similarly processed across languages. However, much of this research has employed the use of simple stimuli (e.g., isolated words). The present study sought to determine the differences in bilingual response to more complex first- and second-language emotional content using music as a stimulus. The results indicated that first- and second-language complex emotional material may elicit similar responses in Spanish-English fluent bilinguals; however, second-language material may elicit stronger responses in English-Spanish non-fluent bilinguals than first-language material. Implications for clinical practice, as well as suggestions for future research are discussed.
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